On May 18, 1980, student activists gathered in the South Korean city of Gwangju to protest the coup d’état and the martial law government of General Chun Doo-hwan. The security forces responded with unmitigated violence. Over the next ten days hundreds of students, activists, and citizens were arrested, tortured, and murdered. The events of the uprising shaped over a decade of resistance to the repressive South Korean regime and paved the way for the country’s democratization.
This fresh translation by Slin Jung of a text compiled from eyewitness testimonies presents a gripping and comprehensive account of both the events of the uprising and the political situation that preceded and followed the violence of that period. Included is a preface by acclaimed Korean novelist Hwang Sok-yong.
Gwangju Uprising is a vital resource for those interested in East Asian contemporary history and the global struggle for democracy.
“This publication not only provides the reader with an incredible history of the ten days in May 1980 when the uprising occurred, it does so by keeping the spirit of the uprising intact...I couldn't help but be reminded of John Reed's classic journalism on Russia's October Revolution, Ten Days That Shook the World or even the slender text by Alexander Cockburn and Jeffrey St. Clair reporting the 1999 uprising in Seattle against the World Trade Organization, 5 Days That Shook the World: Seattle and Beyond. Still, this book goes beyond these titles in its depth and breadth discussing what was perhaps one of the greatest post-Sixties movements until the series of anti-capitalist globalization protests that shook up the world from 1999-2001. Besides its role as a journal, it also serves as a handbook - a manual, if you will - of how such events unfold and how they are run.”
“Serves as a testament not only to the broad mobilization for democracy, but also to the painstaking efforts of those who collected and published the information in defiance of the government.”
“Gwangju Uprising sets the record straight with far too much detail to refute, offering a sobering lesson for the people of the future about what sacrifices were made for freedom in the Republic of Korea...A moving work of exceptional scholarship.”